Comments: 458 • Responses: 74  • Date: 

courtobrien342 karma


hett132 karma


Fellow Americans, this means 'jail'.

courtobrien61 karma

I thought long and hard about whether i'd spell in Oz English or 'Murican. Probably for a good 20 seconds. I need to go to bed!

sleeping_gecko8 karma

I'm a 'Murican. I first stumbled upon that spelling while reading some Yeats. Until I looked it up, I thought it was an alternative spelling of "gale," as in "a very strong wind."

courtobrien18 karma

Dorothy Gaol

robobreasts-23 karma

Are you aware that many consider "'Murican" to be offensive?

courtobrien1 karma

There's a guy on here that thought the fact that I referred to my father as the 'victim' offensive, so nothing really surprises me anymore.

tankydhg60 karma

My dad was murdered when I was 17 also (2003). The assailant was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

courtobrien61 karma

Wow - twins! I'm sorry to hear that. That actually made me tear up a bit. I know your pain man! What country are you in? And what circumstances led to such a short sentence? Have you found any of my experiences similar or different, and in what ways?

piihb21 karma

The killer only got 7 years. How much time did the accomplices get?

courtobrien55 karma

Accomplices couldn't be placed at the crime scene, and the taxi driver only recognised the killer because she had used his service at that address previously, so couldn't give a proper ID. I was widely known that the two men were there & that they couldn't be caught out. And the DPP decided she'd have a better case going after the one person rather than 3 with not a great piece of evidence or a witness. This totally put me off my originally planned law career. It's not all about getting the bad guy.

hillkiwi15 karma

What was the motive?

courtobrien44 karma

I've answered this in one of the other questions. But essentially, nobody ever really got to the bottom of that.

EyhSteve7 karma

7 years? What was your reaction when the killer was released? Any contact/attempted contact between the killer and your family?

courtobrien29 karma

We were told prior to her release that it was coming up, and that there were conditions such as maintaining distance etc. I was angry, but by that stage I didn't want to start bringing up old feelings that i'd tried so hard to overcome, and was still very much working on moving away from. So I kind of just tried to forget about it. I was scared for a few months that I might see her nearby, but never did. I heard that she moved to the country and became a lesbian. That's honestly the only info I have and I don't care to know more. She is not permitted to attempt contact via any means.

Thestreak0397 karma

I am very sorry for your loss and hope this gets noticed more since it was posted at a very early time for the majority of reddit.

I've seen a women stab her husband to death when I was 14, and later on in the military held my friend in my arms as he was dying. It took forever to come to grips with both cases but thankfully I had a good support group. My questions to you are:

How hard was it for you to come to terms with your fathers death and eventually heal?

Did you have a good support group or was there too much grief in the family?

What would you say to your fathers killer if you had a chance?

Thank you for doing this AmA and I wish you the best in your future.

courtobrien61 karma

I am ignorant to the time difference since i moved back to Oz & have no ties to North America anymore - I will have to be more dilligent! !

That sounds horribly traumatic - to witness a death is something I thankfully have no experience with. I can only imagine the things it can do to a person both mentally & emotionally. Props (and an upvote) to you for being able to talk about it.

To answer you questions;

I dont believe you ever 'come to terms with it', but more so understand that it happened and you can't change it. Each day gets a tiny bit easier. You start remembering the positives, because the negatives take up too much space. I was ok with his death long before the after effects of the mental illnesses & family problems were taken care of. I am still a work in progress, but am so self aware and positive that i feel like a new person & that the murder situation happened to somebody else. It was so long ago, nearly as long ago as the duration of time I actually knew him.

Support was virtually non existent. I could not bear to live with my siblings, as I was torn between BEING the support for them & needing to deal with my emotions. Although we had our mother there, I felt a responsibility as the eldest sibling to work harder & do more. Eventually I decided to do me & moved in with a boyfriend at the age of 18. Big mistake, but I needed the break. Anytime I was with them, and particularly if we were drinking, I was violent. Police were involved on countless occasions. Court ordered therapy was to be had! We slowly built a relationship again. Man just thinking about the long journey to here is exhausting!

I have had the chance to speak with her, via a Restorative Justice Conference. Some examples of what I said/asked are;

-Why did you kill my father?

-Did you even consider that it might affect all of these lives, including those of your own family?

-Did you actually think, for one second, that you'd get away with it?

-I hope you lie in bed every night & think about how you've robbed us of even one single day with our father. Let alone the important ones, like the day I get married, walking us down the aisle, meeting his grandchildren, sharing our first drink as an adult. I hope it destroys you as much as it has us. (This was something i'd worked on for weeks leading up to it, and as you can see I was still quite angry and wanted to direct it back onto her in a clever way. I was sassy back then! and about 20 years old)

-Wheres the gun?

-Wheres all the money gone?

VArious other things like that. Things I'd always wondered about. Some things said in spite, others quite valid. But in the end it provided me with neither closure, or satisfaction. Given the chance, i would NEVER speak with her again, but some may find this kind of thing helpful.

I hope this makes sense, coz im about [6] trees into sleepy time. Thank you for your interest, and for sharing your story.

allenahansen31 karma

I'd be fascinated to know her responses to each of these questions. And for you, did asking them bring you any measure of peace?

Surely you had some elaborate revenge fantasy? Would you care to share it? And did you ever let go of your anger and accept that with a few blessed exceptions, justice only happens in the movies?

Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

courtobrien62 karma

You know what's funny? I don't recall most of her responses! At least not specifically. It was quite clear that most of it was nonsense. I don't think I ever intended to hear them, I was focused on making her feel my pain. And i did everything I could do to ensure that happened. Typing it makes me sound crazy right now - lolz I can remember a few;

-She killed him because of blah, blah, blah... (then later told me she'd tell me the real reason later. scary)

-She didn't consider who it might affect, as it happened so fast. She did immediately regret it though, because she was scared of going to gaol.

  • She cried, sobbed, even screamed out at one point during my 'speech' about the moments we'd miss. This was a victory moment if there ever was one!

-The gun was melted down at a factory nearby & destroyed.

-What money? (it was proven that she'd also cleared out his cash accounts in the weeks after his death, minor amounts but she was continuing to deny things, which we found crazy)

Now, about this revenge fantasy. YES YES YES I SURE DID! Great question! I have not confessed this to many people, but several of my close friends are aware that it once existed.

-Basically, if I ever saw her in the street, I would have had no hesitation to attack her. And she lived only one street away from my home at the time of the murder. So i had to walk by her house quite regularly. Her husband & children lived there. We saw her daughter constantly. So I always hoped that when she was released, she would know not to show her face around here. She didn't. She knew not to. So i started fantasing about what I'd do if i knew where she was, and if I could scare her, or make her feel unsafe. It was all a stupid fantasy. Although I was angry, I am not a cruel, hurtful person. And i'd never have it in me to hurt somebody willingly. Eventually i kind of forgot about her. Stopped caring about her whereabouts. Stopped being frightened that I'd see her in the street. Once I felt safe, I stopped wanting revenge. Besides, her daughter, who had the potential to be a nice person, is now a prostitute heroin/meth addict, who will likely not have a shot at a good life, so I feel she already got enough trouble to deal with & is suffering her own fate.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not crazy. Find me a gif or something!

firegal31 karma

You're not crazy sweetie. You're perfectly normal.

Try this gif:


courtobrien15 karma

Perfect! Thank you doll

MacDagger1873 karma

What do you think your reaction would be now that you no longer wish revenge but suddenly DID see her on the street?

courtobrien5 karma

Freeze. Then run in the opposite direction. It would be the last thing I expect, and I HATE surprises.

tyrandan286 karma

I am so sorry to hear that. It's awesome that the killers were caught. My dad was also murdered. I was 4 at the time and the killers were never jailed, and still walk free today, so reading stories like yours always make me tear up for justice being served. I am also glad to see you are getting through this.

courtobrien63 karma

Gosh, that's horrible. Sorry for your loss right back at cha! Can I ask you, do you remember him much at all? I often have trouble recalling my dads face and have to think of a memory or visualise a photograph.

Something just occurred to me, that I honestly can say I hadn't considered before. I felt wrongly done by, when the killer was caught & served a relatively short sentence. There are people out there who run free, and never have to answer for what they've done. Although my circumstances were tough, I should be happy that there was some form of result, despite it not being ideal. Lets face it, ideal would be them coming back to life wouldn't it?!

Thank you for sharing, and I apologise if my posts have upset you. I feel a little ignorant & humbled - so I guess I'm learning something too.

tyrandan261 karma

Oh, no! Don't feel that way at all. It just brought back some painful memories, but I am very happy for you that they were caught. I'm not bitter or anything about my dad's killers walking free. I've learned that if I let myself be controlled by what happened, then the killers win. So forgiveness and forgetting is the only option for me, because I want to live a happy, healthy life as a way of proving that their acts ultimately were in vain.

But it has been hard. I have a few very blurry pictures of my dad, but I also try to think of them so I won't forget his face. I lost my mom to cancer last November, so I've been thinking about them both a lot this past year. You post reminded me (when the cops told your mom etc.) of when my family came together and told me about it. My Mom couldn't do it, so my uncle stepped up and told me my dad was gone. I don't remember this too well, but they said I was kind of indifferent, since I didn't understand what that meant. They said I just walked over to my toys, picked out one that my dad gave me, and started playing with it. So I don't know, maybe I did understand it on some level.

But of course, being so young, most of what I know of him is from those blurry pictures and what people have told me. One of the only real memories I have of him is of me and him walking home on a sidewalk. He reached behind my ear and "pulled out" a piece of gum, and then gave it to me. I asked him if he could pull apples out of my ears as well. He said maybe if I put apple seeds in them first. It's a silly little memory, but it's one of the few I have of him. I think the only reason I still remember it is because I was at his viewing/funeral. I watched him in the casket while everyone told me he was just asleep. I turned to my grandma, my aunt and then my mom and asked if they could pull gum out of my ears. They were crying so my grandma just handed me some gum. I think that's when I first realized something was wrong.

Sorry, my post is getting a little long. I didn't mean to make you feel ignorant, but we could all probably use some humbleness. Getting over his death (and especially the circumstances it happened under) took a lot of learning humility, because when I was old enough to understand what happened (I'm 21 now), I immediately felt enraged and wanted revenge. My whole personality changed, and I became almost obsessed with justice and revenge. I felt like I had been dealt a bad hand in life, and it wasn't fair, so I wanted to fix it. I wanted to kill the people that killed my dad. Eventually I realized it wasn't worth it, because by doing that it ensured the killers were still in control. So I decided to try and make myself more humble, and more forgiving. I'm glad I did, because I am a happy person now. The memories are still sad, and painful, but I understand the past is the past.

You're right, ideal would be them coming back. But I've faced the fact that it won't ever happen, both for my dad and my mom. Instead, I try to let them live through me, by respecting the memory of them and living the good things they taught me to be and learning from the mistakes they made throughout their life as well.

Man, I'm sorry again. This is your AMA, not mine, haha. I didn't mean to spill my life's story to you. I think what you are doing is great, there are a lot of people out there who still hurt from their loss, so reading stories like yours help them see that the sorrow doesn't last, and things get better.

courtobrien22 karma

I too am glad for the humbling experiences, you have taught me a little lesson today. You seem like a very strong character, and very self aware - something that is rare & quite admirable. I take my hat off to you for overcoming your anger, as it;s something i struggled with so much. Good for you man!!

And the apple story - that's a frikkin cool memory. Things like that are perfect! I have a few of those. I'm glad you remember some of your time with him, hold onto those memories.

Dont apologise for your long post, you're making mine look shorter in comparisson :) feedback is my friend and I like to compare battle wounds anyhoo

Thank you for sharing your story.

XIII198731 karma

Sorry for your loss but did you find out what the motive was, or was he randomly gunned down?

courtobrien53 karma

This is a complicated question, but i'll try my best to answer.

We knew the killer. A 'close' friend of his. She was caught after about 6 months of investigations & surveillance (they basically waited for her to blurt it out over the phone in guilt).

As for a motive; it depends on who you ask. My interpretation was that there was a large sum of money involved (most definitely drug money), and that there were several killers. This woman was the 'fall guy'. I did attend a Restorative Justice conference at the gaol to hear her out and speak my mind, however she was very clearly lying and covering up for people in a bid to gain early release. She served 4 years of a 7 year sentence for outright murder.

puredemo25 karma

How did she only get 7 years for murder?!

courtobrien43 karma

Well, there were two cases similar to this previously. I was told (since we were rudely & intentionally left out of the proceedings) that the sentences were both quite different. One being 3 years, the other being 10 years. So the judge met in the middle and gave her 7. Also, although the killer confessed to her crime under oath, the murder weapon was never located (she said she had it melted down,) so I think the prosecution took what they could get. A conviction is a conviction no matter how long the sentence, and numbers make money i guess.

I am of the understanding however, that she supplied the investigators with sensitive information relating to another case and had her sentence reduced severely for that reason. That was also the reason for my siblings and I, was we would not have understood at the time, and in all honesty, would have certainly made our anger known in the courtroom.

I have spent many sleepless nights asking myself this question, and have since decided that some things are just not under our control, no matter how much we believe in something or feel that its right.

XIII198721 karma

7 years that's disgraceful, what country are you from. Sorry if my question was hard for you to answer.

courtobrien27 karma

Tell me about it. Eventually I think enough time passed for me to just not remember it that often. I don't dwell on those details anymore, but it was a struggle to deal with.

Not at all. I did the AMA specifically so I can answer the hard stuff. It's supposed to be a learning experience for everybody. I have not had trouble speaking about it for quite some time now, as it's such a part of my life and who I am as a person, as far as my strength and other such traits goI'im sure it has influenced me in that way. I wonder if others cope in this way? I'd love to hear of other peoples stories.

I'm from Australia.

Please, feel free to ask the hard stuff, as you might be surprised.

perche9 karma

My interpretation was that there was a large sum of money involved (most definitely drug money)

Were they stealing money for drugs? Was your father dealing and they stole his money? Awkward question, I know, but it's not clear. You do say elsewhere "I did the AMA specifically so I can answer the hard stuff. "

she was very clearly lying and covering up for people in a bid to gain early release.

That doesn't make sense. If she wanted early release she would be turning people in.

courtobrien30 karma

From what I understand, yes i think he was. Or payments for other nasty things. My dad wasn't exactly a friend of the law.

And that does sound kind of dumb TBH - to clarify; I think she was telling a goody two shoes, self defense, type of story rather than admit her involvement in an even larger more violent crime. At one point in the conference I excused myself for a ciggarette. Everybody decided to take a 5 min break for the bathroom, to smoke, to wipe the sweat of their brows. I'm outside smoking and she just strolls out into the yard, up next to me. I'm frozen still, thinking "is she gonna hurt me or something?" and she starts chatting like we're old friends, saying "I'll tell you the full story when I get out ok. I cant tell you now, but theres more to it than I can say & I have to do this until I get out"

Basically I run inside & tell the mediators what she said. And they say they already know she has this story she is keeping secret, and that she'd tried many other things to try & gain attention to her case. In the end I decide that a) shes just a junkie murderer and nothing that comes out of her mouth can be taken as truth. And b) she was hoping that by telling me i'd get the full story later, I might sponsor her for the early release program due to her willingness to participate in the conference.
I told everybody it was over, & walked out the door saying "Thanks for frikkin nothing"

EyhSteve6 karma

I don't know how you didn't lose it and beat the living shit out of her right there!

courtobrien8 karma

Cops in the room. Trust me, I thought about it. I think I went for a thousand cigarettes that day.

DontMakeMeDownvote2 karma

Christ, she still got out early though. Do you still see her?

courtobrien3 karma


tryingtofixmyissues24 karma

How do you feel about the way murder is portrayed in the media and on TV shows?

courtobrien48 karma

This is a good one! Thank you!

Murder, rather than death, in particular is always portrayed as being very theatrical in both real life media & tv/movies. The killer is always calm & calculated (except in crimes of passion etc) and appears to have no remorse. I feel that killing somebody would be a very hard & shocking thing to do, and always imagined her standing there contemplating how she'd just destroyed her life, the lives of his family, and her two children would be left without a mother too. This is purely speculation, however she has personally told me her version of events and I had to assume at least some of it happened that way. I should mention though: The weapon was taken to the scene of the crime with the intent of killing my father. She also panicked and left before she could clean up her prints etc, and had to go back in a taxi to fix her mistakes. You dont often see that in movies. The killer always knows how to cover it up. People in the crime world can be terrible at their jobs too it would seem.

Also, TV had given me the impression that crimes scenes are cleaned up and all the 'waste' would be removed. NOPE. Not at all. I was left to clean my fathers home, removing pools of blood & brains from the carpet, ceiling, walls, everything. We were then hounded for damages by the various insurance companies as it was a rental property. None of this is mentioned in the media, as it's not as "Sensational" as the rest of the fun stuff.

What I think is most different, is how the family are treated when a murder happens. Due to the circumstances, people didn't know how to approach us. We felt isolated & different. Nobody brought us home cooked meals, or offered to help with anything. Nobody asked if we were ok or needed to see somebody about our feelings. We were kind of just left to our own devices. The media reported us as coping as best we could, but were only interested in a good story or a picture of me crying or losing my cool outside a courthouse. Communities don't band together for causes like they do in the movies. People are busy, and quickly move on & forget. It's the human condition. And there's a new murder everyday, so they get desensitized to that extent.

I had always watched crime & law shows as a kid/teen, and assumed that the killer was always caught, tried & hung within the space of a few days. Knowing who the killer was, and having to wait until the evidence was uncovered seemed ridiculous at the time. Being naive and rather sheltered prior to this incident probably had a lot to do with that.

mykevelli28 karma

Also, TV had given me the impression that crimes scenes are cleaned up and all the 'waste' would be removed. NOPE. Not at all. I was left to clean my fathers home, removing pools of blood & brains from the carpet, ceiling, walls, everything.

Holy shit I had no idea! That must have been terrible!

courtobrien25 karma

I was in robot mode at that stage. It took me a few weeks to break, then I lost my shit... The first few weeks is like a dream. A scary, sad one. But it takes a while for things to sink in. I think adrenaline takes over to get you through the bad stuff. Thats how it feels for me anyway. I'd like to get another opinion on this subject...!

Kofcandre19 karma

I work for a Restoration company and we typically deal with Fire type restoration projects. We have an emergency service branch of the company that often responds to emergencies such as fires, floods, vehicle crashes or any type of accidents that happen to homes, buildings or property. We also deal with homicide and suicide scenes, typically removing and cleaning up so the family doesn't have to see or clean up the scene. In the past, I've personally been out to many of these types of trauma scenes, and I felt that it was better for us to clean and visually sanitize the scene before the family is let in. I couldn't imagine you or your family having to deal with it, it is too bad the police, medical examiner or some other agency didn't call in a restoration firm to do that for your family. Especially when they themselves also leave a mess with Luminol, ink dusting, and other chemicals typically used on crime scenes.

courtobrien9 karma

I couldn't find a company that did this at the time, but I have since discovered a few. Nobody offered any suggestions, which I found odd.

alicat33117 karma

I don't understand how it is such a short sentence. My grandma survived an attempted murder (beaten, throat slit three times, and stabbed in the shoulder) the guy got 40 years and I don't think that's even close to long enough.

courtobrien11 karma

You and me both man. The mind boggles. I think I must've slept for two weeks after hearing that verdict.

Yellowben16 karma

Do you ever get tired of people saying "Sorry for your loss"?

courtobrien46 karma

Haha you know what, I kind of do! My sister, brother & I are quite a humorous bunch. Well known for our wit. We often have a bit of a joke with our friends about this exact topic.

If, for example, somebody asks "What does your father do?", we might answer with "Nothing much, he's dead" or "Oh, he died" just to get a bit of a reaction. Most people get that we're making light of the subject, but some are shocked for a split second. We very quickly clear up the confusion & most people find that it's much more chipper than apologising for something you played no part in or even knew about at the time.

We have also joked among ourselves, but NEVER actually said it, that it would be funny to respond to "I'm sorry for your loss" with "Why? Did you do it?" - We're crazy like that.

Having said that; I'm sure I say the same thing to people when i dont know them well enough to be more specific. And the alternatives are no more appealing or less awkward. My best try at an alternative would be "I'm sorry to hear that" as it shows more sympathy/empathy than responsibility.

mciky42 karma

I completely understand this comment, my father died when I was 5 and my mother did when I was 20. I am only 24 now, but I have always found that making jokes and having a light hearted laugh about it is what got me through it all.

For example; when my mother was alive she would ask me to do the dishes, to which I replied, 'what did your last slave die of?' Faster than you can think her reply was 'throat cancer'.

(My father died of throat cancer in '94 and my mother committed suicide in 2010.)

I always found it to be the easiest way to cope, if I didn't laugh, I'd just cry.

(Edit: formatting)

Edit: thank you for the gold

courtobrien18 karma

if I didn't laugh, I'd just cry. THIS. Thats how we coped too, and now we're just crackin hilarious.

Thanks for sharing man. I hope you're ok & have people around you that care. Best regards

Rydeazy14 karma

In your eyes, what is something your friends could have done to help you through the aftermath? Did you want space, someone to talk too...? If a situation like this happens to someone we know what would be the best way to help them from your experiences?

courtobrien13 karma

Great question! Thank you for commenting.

One thing a few friends did do, was pick me up one night and take me to the buffet at Sizzler. We didn't really talk about it much, but we ate & mucked around for hours pretending nothing was wrong. That few hours made me feel really normal, after days of crazy lows and surreal events. I'd have liked more company, but I understood that babysitting a grief stricken friend would be quite a burden at 17-18 years old.

I didn't necessarily want to talk, because that's all the adults wanted to do. The court case, the cops, the newspapers etc. I wanted normality. And food. I loved going for comfort foods and sneaking cigarettes. Normal highschool stuff.

If there wasn't a court case and investigation going on, I might have wanted to talk about it more. Or at least talk about HIM more. In the case of a natural death or an illness or similar.

One thing I noticed, was that I developed a fear of people leaving me. a fear of people not being constant. I still have that fear, but to a lesser degree. I'd offer stability, safety, reassurance that your support is constant.

I hope i've answered you sufficiently.

bloodymucous14 karma

What's your favorite memory of your dad?

courtobrien44 karma

Oh gosh! He was honestly a bit of an asshole most of the time. Very troubled & in his own head a lot. But he was also very generous, and would go out of his way to make up for things. A few months before he died, and not long after I'd started my first real job, we cooked meal together & had a beer. It was nothing fancy, but it gave me an idea of what our relationship was going to be like now that I was growing up. Not long after that he was killed, so I have always been grateful for that one opportunity to try playing grown ups with my dad.

Besides that, my sibs and I have many little quirks that we loved that we always talk about, renact & quote. His memory is very much alive in this house :)

royyal0412 karma

Is it hard for people to casually throw around things like "I would kill for a coffee" or "If I don't get out of work on time I am going to murder someone"?

courtobrien19 karma

Not at all. I often say things like that myself, and wonder why I get weird looks. I often say inappropriate things such as "this makes me want to kill myself" or "I am going to murder you if you dont shut up" and dont think twice that it might hurt somebody, as i'm not sensitive to things like that anymore. I'm kind of offensive to be honest.

See my comment about people saying "sorry for your loss" thats somewhere in here. Similar kind of thing. Also a bit crazy.

MacDagger1875 karma

That's great! Just for anyone else reading this, remember that just because /u/courtobrien is able to handle this so well, doesn't mean everyone going through a loss will or SHOULD be able to handle it so well. So... I guess don't make jokes at victims unless you know them well!

courtobrien5 karma

Great point. I would never intentionally joke to hurt somebody, and try to be sensitive to people I know, but occasional slips of the tongue like this happen all the time. It's like when kids call everything 'gay' because it's uncool, without any idea about the meaning of what they're saying or the offence it can cause. Not saying inappropriate things is something I work on everyday. I am missing a filter somewhere between honesty & ignorance.

link611210 karma

I'm so sorry, I hope you're okay...

  1. What do/did you feel about the culprit?

  2. Does this put into perspective all of the murders you hear about in foreign countries? Such as the deaths caused by the gas in Syria.

  3. Was the culprit caught?

courtobrien12 karma

In all honesty, i used to wish nothing but hell and torture for the killer. These days I'd rather generate positive energy and thoughts, so I rarely even think about her. If i saw her in the street, I would most certain ly run in the other direction, not out of fear, but out of strength from having closed that door behind me and dealt with my own anger/hurt/etc. She would most likely try to plead her innocence or something anti-pragmatic like that.

Hmmmmm Syria. Any kind of death upsets me to an extent, no matter the scale or level of brutality. This particular incident was shocking in its own right, and due to the images of children being circulated at the time. Families being torn apart is a bit of an emotional soft spot for me, because I can empathise i guess... But I in no way believe that I feel more than others, or am an expert in death. It has given me an understanding of the good/evil debate, and that horrible things can happen in war torn countries as well as suburban middle class neighbourhoods like mine. Nowhere is 'safe' so to speak.

Yes, she was caught. I have answered that a bit somewhere in the comments...

HturHsa10 karma

How do you feel about the death penalty?

courtobrien16 karma

I am very much of the belief that an eye for an eye is fair punishment. But, there are always circumstances in which this may not apply. I am a lot more open minded about differences these days, and am certainly not confident in the justice system.

I have strong opinions about cases in which a person is tried & sentenced to the death penalty, only to be found innocent after their sentencing has already been carried out.

We do not have the death penalty in Australia, and it's been a LONG time since our last federation style hanging.

HturHsa4 karma


courtobrien10 karma

One of my reasons for 'sitting on the fence' in a way, is that I would never want to cause people hurt or pain like i've experienced. For example; the killers family, children etc. Sure i've lost a parent, and they will lose theirs for some time while they serve their sentence. But if we kill the killer, and cause those children hurt, and potentially mental harm, then are we really doing the right thing? Are we not then the killer? Where does the cycle end? Im some cases, the death penalty seems appropriate. Serial killers, child molesters, sex offenders, other horrors like that. In others, isolating the killer from everything they love and care about, and the right to a regular life might serve as a better punishment. I'd rather be dead, then sit in a cell for 20/30 years knowing that i'll likely never get to experience anything thats on the other side of that wall again. The guilt alone would be excruciating. Death seems like the easy way out & maybe people shouldn't be given that luxury?

Just food for thought & not my personal opinion but more something i've discussed previously that I thought may interest you.

Doctor_Rosenpenis3 karma

To my ears, that sounds extremely humane and reasonable. However, I'd be curious to hear if you think it is possible that you would feel some relief or release if the murderer were executed. Maybe something like the 'closure' we hear so much about in pop psychology? This is not to say that emotional relief for the victim's family and loved ones is sufficient to justify a death sentence, but it strikes me that it should be taken into consideration (this is all assuming we knew without a doubt the killer's guilt).

courtobrien4 karma

It's an big debate, with endless variables. And trust me, i've delved into it on many occasion.

I think initially, after the murder, I would want the relief of knowing that they have been killed. I did want it. For quite some time. I've seen cases where the families have forgiven the killer and moved on. They get closure via other avenues. In my case i am not forgiving, I just don't want to waste energy on it that could be better spent living (regret/forgiveness/revenge etc).

Now, I know that the killer has to live with it everyday. And i'd personally rather she suffer in that way. I can completely empathise with those who still require that type of closure though. At the end of the day it comes down to one question for me "Do I wish to take another persons life?" and I always say no.

Derpameaus10 karma

I feel your pain, my grandparents were murdered by one of my family members who was a child (10-18 years old).

courtobrien8 karma

Holy Dooley! That is horrible. Absolutely feeling for you. Something like that would create all sorts of family problems later on in life, even after people have grieved. My condolences for you loss. I imagine the circumstances behind that are unusual.

leopold_storch9 karma


courtobrien24 karma

She was found. I attended all court proceedings, but was not given the opportunity to go to the verdict hearing or sentencing. There was a deal made, between the DPP (District Police Prosecuter) and the killer, which severely reduced her sentence. I was angered by this terribly for about two years, feeling robbed of my chance to see justice served and all of that jazz.

7 years. 4 with good behaviour. She was out within 4 years. I hated the verdict. I hated the judge, the jury, the lawyers, the cops. I even hated my poor Mum, and she had NOTHING to do with it! I was an angry teenager. One day after many years of therapy, i realised; Im angry about something I cant control, and I'm the only one being affected by this anger. Why not just stop? So I did...

leopold_storch4 karma


courtobrien9 karma

Thank you for asking!

Love_Trust_Hope8 karma

I just want to hug you :(

courtobrien10 karma

ok, snuggle up! Dont be sad, im not sad. I'm happy because I live, and I have love and happiness even though bad things happen.

funkarama7 karma

Do you know any more details about the motive/background?

what type of drugs? How much money? Were there gangs involved? Hell's Angels? any other details of the mechanics of the situation.

courtobrien15 karma

I got the impression back then that it was mid level, small amounts type of thing. in the 10's of thousands. Nothing huge. BUT, people addicted to heroin will kill you for a dollar if they get the chance, so any amount of money sounds enticing to them when they need that next hit. The killer was his little wheel & deal lady. I'd personally been in her car one day on the way home when she stopped at several places to deal drugs with people. All the while saying "dont you dare tell your father I let you see this". She was a junkie, and often took a hit and passed out for hours at a time around the neighbourhood. She was known for this. Prior to his involvement with her, he had only previously dealt in trees.

My father NEVER took drugs himself. My mother has always maintained that he was dead against them, however since he thought addicts were scum he might as well make money of of their poor choices. He did drink like a fish, daily, always, forever. And just knew a bunch of losers. The funeral was a delight. FML

No Gangs. I'm from a very non-gang area.No HA's. but I know he did know a few of them & worked for them from time to time 'debt collecting' when he was low on cash. Most of the biker clubs in Oz have really changed from what they were in the old days. I'm a big fan of bikes, and all that. But they don't make bikers like they used to.

solidmixer7 karma

Not sure if this has been asked, but were you / are you religious, and did it help you in any way in recovering, finding solace and peace, etc? I know the question is kind of vague but I was interested in whatever you might find relevant to say.

Also, I just thought I'd add like everyone I'm very sorry for your loss, and hope your life currently is stable, happy, and that you and your family are well loved and cared for. It sounds like you are but best wishes anyway!

courtobrien13 karma

Good question!

Nope. Not at all religious. My father was catholic, but not practising. We didn't include bible verses at the service, except for one that his mother chose, which we allowed despite our knowing our father would not be impressed. giggles

I do recall one point of desperation, where i did pray to god, Jesus, Buddha & whoever was supposed to be in charge. I wanted my dad back & I wanted them to fix it. Nothing happened though, so I immediately forgot about it & continued with my grief. If anything, it solidified my stance on a higher power and religions of that nature and I found myself leaning towards mindfulness and practical approaches to dealing with life's difficulties.

I am not against religion in any way, and have attended church services over the years and enjoyed them. I visit temples when travelling the world. I would marry a religious person regardless of their beliefs; I have no requirement like that as such. I just find these foundations in other areas of life, such as psychology, evolution & human nature, and some elements of meditation and fitness. Each to their own, I always say :)

offsafety7 karma

My dearest condolences. I see you wrote of your healing process; have your siblings also gone through their "healing process" as well? Or are they still coping with the loss? I imagine you must have needed each other for this. Pardon if anything I asked came off as ignorant.

courtobrien14 karma

Healing mean different things for different people. I first took a long journey into hell and hung out there for a few years, making horrible choices & basically being mentally & emotionally exhausted to the point of catatonia. So my healing was more about myself, than about my fathers death. Through my knowledge & interest in psychology, I have gradually learned to accept his death and that it happened. There is also the problem of healing a broken family, which is something that we are still working on everyday, even now.

My siblings have had similar problems of their own, and are mostly doing ok. Children, partners, work, social groups, hobbies. All of lifes little 'stepping stones' were reached. I cant speak for their coping methods, but i'd like to think we all managed in a similar way.

We DID need each other, but unfortunately the pain and anger we all felt made it impossible to reside near each other for long periods of time, or to even socialise at times. This has changed dramatically over the years, and as adults (in our 20s now) we even live together in one big house to be nearer to one another.

And please do not apologise, Death is often a taboo topic and im not sure why. It's the only certainty in life and people should be open, honest & willing to share their knowledge of it. I am more than happy to share, as it may help others to cope/heal like I have been able to.


How long did it take for you to initially recover, mentally?

courtobrien12 karma

Initially? That description is quite broad (as the perception of time when you're experienceing shock is kind of twisted and hazy), so I'll give you a run down of what I remember of the first few months/years.

The day you find out somebody is gone is the longest day of your life. That felt like it lasted forever. My siblings & I all curled up together not being able to speak, thinking about god knows what. My mother had to call my job to say I wasnt able to attend. It was my first real f/t job out of highschool & I was terrified of being fired of all things.... Shock will do that. I took a week off work, then had to get out of the house. Within 3 months, I had moved away from my family & was functioning highly. Taking vacations, dating my boyfriend, starting fresh. This was all an act!!! I was mentally destroyed & desperately scrambling to find something to grasp onto. I carried on like this for many years; appearing fine for a few months, working hard, maintaining relationships. Then BAM, mental explosion. I would be depressed, have fits of rage & violence, quit my job, starve myself sick, drink to excess... Then I'd go back up to 'normal' and settle down. It took 7 years for me to accept that medication would help my brain function properly enough for it to learn how to cope with anxiety, anger, hate, rage, violence, addictions and anything else thats basically a result of a trauma such as this.

That is only my personal journey tho, and ive left parts out that are long-winded as I tend to go on a bit. It's a lot of years of illness & heartbreak to recall.

Edit: Clarity explaining time perception due to shock

Timbehr6 karma

Hi OP My father was murdered when I was 15. My heart goes out to you. I also know what its like to go through the trials, police work, drama. If you ever need someone to shoot the shit about it feel free to send me message.

courtobrien7 karma

Same feels man! Sure thing, we have a club, you should join. Wait, i bet there's already a sub.

kcrox266 karma

How long did it take you to laugh again? I imagine it was hard.

courtobrien7 karma

Laughing, not so long. It's such a natural, instinctive reaction. It's actually quite hard to ignore it if something is quite funny. I think making jokes & intentionally being funny is harder to start doing again, since you feel as though you shouldn't be happy or having fun. I found that when I laughed naturally, I would cover my mouth with my hand and stop once i realised what I was doing, like some kind of guilt for 'forgetting' for a split second my life was destroyed. (I was a teenager, so I was VERY melodramatic)

Once you realise that there is no guilt associated with laughter & that it is in fact the best thing for you, you ease up and start to let it happen again. But I would say I was grieving quite hard for about 4-6 months before I started to accept it and begin the healing process.

I_AM_EAGLE6 karma

7 years for murder? Isn't that a bit to little of a punishment.

courtobrien13 karma

Abso-bloody-lutely! But who ya gonna call? We couldn't appeal it. In fact, she appealed it. Tried to get less time. Don't ask me how it works, because the legal system is inconsistent, and it would seem that people in the public sector are on some sort of quota, so to speak. So long as there is a conviction, they are doing their job in the eye of the public. Not in all cases, but certainly here. Deals were made, no idea what or how, but it's not all black & white.

Instructions-Unclear5 karma

What's one thing you wish you could have shared with your dad before he passed? I'm very sorry for you loss.

courtobrien6 karma

My wedding day. It still hasn't happend yet, may never happen. But I often worry what i'll do without him on that day. Thankfully my brother will know exactly what to say. He's very much like my father, which is both a joy & a hindrance at times :)

waffles3455 karma

how in the world would you recover from such a tragedy? I can't even imagine how it would be like if I would lose one of my parents... how is life for you now? how are you dealing with this? I am very sorry for your loss

courtobrien5 karma

Very slowly. It's taken forever.

Life is good now. I still have my set backs and will always be affected mentally on some level. I'd be lying if I said I was perfect. But basically I learned to deal with my emotions, learned to express them effectively. Learned to cope with things in a way that is appropriate for certain situations such as relationships & work; I tended to express anger & rage towards all sorts of unsuspecting people. I grew up, time passed. Maybe a combination of those things? It's been 13 years. In 4 years, he will have been dead the same amount of time that I knew him! Looking at life in those kinds of time frames makes you 'quit the BS' and focus on things that are going to make your life better. So I do things! Regular things like enjoying food, and the sunshine, and gardening. I'm actually quite happy these days. I know that there is nothing you can't recover from .

jnthnbyl4 karma

Very sorry to hear your story. You seem to be in a good place now though which is great. How have the rest of your family coped with it over the years? Has everyone worked through it as well as you have?

courtobrien8 karma

We have all had our issues over the years. My brother & I both suffer from sleep disorders, nightmares, night terrors and the like. My sister is more of an introvert, and tended to keep things to herself, preferring her friends to her family for support. One thing my sister & I do share is a pretty decent Mary-Jane addiction. People drink, I smoke. She does both & for a while had a serious alcohol problem.

These days we're pretty chill. My sister has a son, who I help raise. She works, he works. I travel mostly... Work & I dont get along, mainly due to my control issues & anxiety. We enjoy simple things like cooking & good tv/movies. Quieter situation & comfortable environments. It certainly made us more appreciative of things once we realised how much time we had lost being 'unwell'.

But no, none of the others have had the therapy that I have had. Nor have they taken the time or effort to educate themselves about mental illnesses and their trauma/shock etc. They do attend doctors & from time to time will take medication, but none with the dedication to being at your best like I have. Infact, for may years I was labelled the crazy one & was the scapegoat for many blow-ups over the years. This led my sister to have an avoidance issue with acknowledging she had a problem. Boy has she changed though :)

I'm rambling again!

goliath2274 karma

Don't normally comment. But i have a similar story. My dad's business partner was a lady. She was stealing money from my dad's business. My dad confronted her about it, and she sent her boyfriend (all three of them aged 45-55) to get my dad to stop from pressing charges. The boyfriend was on cocaine and drunk and started arguing with my father. My dad ended up being stabbed 17 times and throat slit. I was 18 at the time. He ended up getting the death penalty in Ohio (which isn't all too common). I'm surprised this killer in your story isn't sentenced to harsher. Must depend on the state. Good luck to you and your family. It does get easier to talk about and this is a good step for you!

courtobrien3 karma

Thats awful, and sounds far more violent than this case. My heart goes out to you and your family. There are quite a few with similar stories, and although it's terribly sad it's somehow comforting knowing we're not alone in our experiences.

Thank you for sharing :)

Heflar4 karma

is there ever a time that you don't want revenge ?

courtobrien5 karma

I haven't wanted revenge for a long time. I've moved on, I don't dwell. I needed to start living & revenge can be quite consuming.

I've answered a question about my revenge fantasy somewhere in the comments...

Artificial_Insomnia3 karma

What would be the best advice you would give to someone who might be going through something similar? Thanks by the way for doing a AMA!

courtobrien5 karma

Dont let the darkness take hold of you. It can take you to some bad places and people should know that there are still good things to look forward to and to be happy for.

Also, don't try to be brave and deal with it on your own. Accept the help and the love.

Tux-3 karma

Do you think you will be able to forgive her and accept what happened?

courtobrien4 karma

I completely accept what has happened. I would never forgive her however. I don't believe that acceptance & forgiveness go hand in hand with one another, or that one requires the other to occur.

Skmidge3 karma

How do you cope?

courtobrien8 karma

Pot, Ganja, Mary-Jane, Hooch, Coopy, Weed, Trees, Bud, Herb... Etc Etc.

But no, aside from the odd dooby, I just try to keep a very simple, organised life. Avoid stressful environments & situations. Treat myself well. And be mindful of others. My nephew is a great joy to me, and has made me a much happier person in the 3 short years we have known each other. I spend a lot of time with him, and I find it very rewarding. I still get anxious, angry, sad - like other normal people do. I dont often think about the sad parts surrounding his death so much as the good times we shared. I also have a much better understanding of myself now that i'm wearing my big girl pants, so i have found it gets easier with age/time.

leddii3 karma

Have you seen Law Abiding Citizen?

courtobrien3 karma

Hells yes!

stringrbelloftheball2 karma

Sorry for your loss.


Have these events changed your view of the criminal justice system?

courtobrien7 karma

Yes. I answered quite a bit about the death penalty & my feelings on the inconsistencies of the system in another question. It's somewhere here.

Man, i need to learn how to link to a previous answer!

Player_Slayer_72 karma

Have you ever felt the urge to seek revenge for your father's murder? I know the killer is imprisoned, but even then, some still consider that as not true justice.

courtobrien3 karma

I've answered this in another question, but in short form; yes.

Huxlei2 karma

Did you ever feel that "justice" was served? How did you feel when they announced the length of the perpetrators sentence? Did the convicted ever show remorse for their actions?

Thanks for sharing your story

courtobrien2 karma

Answered in previous question, somewhere in this growing page of comments. Sorry! I can't find it but you'll probably have more luck.

rallioul2 karma


courtobrien4 karma

I know that I never really 'tried' to get over it, or to heal myself for along time. I kind of expected people to do it for me, or to take the initiative for me. I felt like I was entitled to something, because I was hurting. It was many years later that I figured all this out and realised that it was the attitude I had towards it was what stopped me from making progress. When I decided to take charge of it myself & be responsible for my own life, I found it came naturally to me over time. The old saying about 'you cant help somebody who doesn't want to be fixed' was true in my situation, so i'm just relaying what kick in the butt I needed.

The process never ends, but it somehow becomes less of a priority and a drain on your mental & emotional resources. I believe in a persons energy, and it's all about where you direct it. I wish you both all the best!

HALALsnackbar2 karma

Reading your comments I can see that you're doing well. You said that you try to focus on positive thoughts and not about wanting revenge or anything, which is good. I hope this isn't too insensitive of a question but I'm curious;

If the murderer was placed in front of you and you were given a gun, a knife and a piece of rope. Would you do anything? Would the answer have been different 10 years ago?

courtobrien5 karma

I've answered this in a couple of other questions, in both long & short form. Have a look and i'm sure you'll find it.

TLDR; No, then yes.

Dadadadabatman2 karma

What thoughts have you had around revenge?

I'd probably be in jail myself now if this happened to me.

courtobrien6 karma

see below - revenge fantasy 101

roh88802 karma

If you were locked in a room with your fathers murderer and you had a gun, would you enact retribution?

courtobrien5 karma

Short answer, NO.

I've given my opinions of revenge in another question. But I will say that I used to wish for a scenario like that. I've since changed my mind.

TORFdot02 karma

In what country do murders only go to jail for 4 years? Its got to have a high murder rate...

courtobrien5 karma

It all comes down to the precedents. They can get quite specific with details of the case to find asimilar 'match'. But honestly, it's always bugged me. I've talked a lot about it in the comments somewhere. I'm not so good with the linking & the quoting.

Australia is where I live.

courtobrien2 karma

WOW - Top AMA at this current point in time. Thanks for making my first ever post so memorable & rewarding on so many levels. I need to figure out how this thing works!

titanhermant2 karma

When I was 17 years old my neighbor attempted to kill his wife and she fled into my house, this being the first and only time I have ever left the door unlocked, and I was woken up by the sound of her screaming for help whole being choked, and my dad getting the guy off of her. It has been a very traumatic experience, and I still get triggers occasionally. I've volunteered at several different places to help people overcome their problems with these kinds of things, what made it hardest for me to get over it is that there was no one who knew what I was going through, besides my parents. Having someone who has been through something similar helps a lot. Altogether now though I am in a much better place than I was before, and I'm glad to see that you seem to be doing relatively well. My question is if you've done any volunteering or anything of the sort to educate people on this. Also, what contributed the most to you overcoming this?

courtobrien3 karma

I've not done any work in the area, but have counselled some friends who have lost parents, and they seemed to appreciate having somebody who had been there and come out the other side.

I think time is the highest contributing factor. Time to heal & get used to the idea. All the rest is just stuff that happens in between really. I covered some other factors in other questions.

[deleted]1 karma


courtobrien3 karma

I am just digging through a box to find some newspaper clippings & photos. Should be about 5 minutes, if you guys can bear with me. This is my first post - so please be gentle...

1211215501 karma

This may be insensitive but do you have any photos of the crime scene?

courtobrien2 karma

No. I sometimes wish I did, not to look at, but for histories sake. I do all the work for my family tree, and tis kind of information would be handy to have stored somewhere. It is kind of morbid though, and I still have a very clear mental image of the scene. I live literally 2 minutes walk from the house, and often drive past just for a look.

Not insensitive. They were all thinking it.

Drakeytown1 karma

Why did you decide to do this AMA?

courtobrien1 karma

A few reasons;

I've been a reader on here for about 2 years, I love the AMAs. Recently i've been having crazy urges to upvote, and am starting to become 'one of you'. I felt that my story was somewhat different to day to day lives of others, and that it would be mutually beneficial to give some solid answers to things. So an AMA seemed like a good way to get it out there. I actually wasn't expecting anybody to ask me anything at all, so this has been quite surprising. Thanks for commenting.

Gladius011 karma

I just watched Boy Wonder, it's a movie that IMO seemed to relate to events similar to yours. Here's a link to it and its IMDB page, if you're interested.

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1456060/

Movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=847zxrutiqI

courtobrien2 karma

I've not seen it, but i am acquiring a copy now... Thank you!

iDontShift1 karma

i believe all is spirit, all is one, therefor victims cannot exist.

this is something i want to bring out to free us all... from the idea that we can be victims.

you say victim a lot, but was he really a victim or a man in a bad situation with some bad ideas about the world that lead to an even worse situation... that when you believe it is real leads to shit like this.

what i'm saying is bad things don't happen in a vacuum. in my experience people of a violent nature tend to be around violence. those people may live to be 100 or may die tomorrow when somebody around them blows their lid.

if you live peacefully, thoughtfully, and lovingly...

these things don't just happen. the idea that they do is the source of tons of fear, people fear that life is random chance of one act of violence after another.

all members involved in the creation of that event deserve responsibility for the creation of that event, including your father and his 'friends'.

in a broader sense we all are responsible for the creation of that event.

we are all one, and we should seek to heal the situation that caused it...

you see that is why i want so badly for people to see this, if we change how we see things we change how we fix those things...

well that is my hope, one day all will see life this way, and we will all see all suffering as our own suffering and seek to help it.

courtobrien2 karma

I used victim as a way to identify the two parties involved in the incident. I wrote it in the form of a police report because I was summarising the details from an original brief. They used the word victim or deceased. I find deceased a little bland.

Im not fussy about the wording, but thank you for your kind words.

changyang12300 karma

Do you get flashback?

courtobrien1 karma

Sometimes if I see sad news story (so daily), or hear of people suffering loss, I remember the feeling and get sad for them. I also have nightmares, but not often about the murder. But no flashbacks, thank goodness.

nuesuh-2 karma

Do you even lift?

courtobrien6 karma

I'm quite lazy, and have a shoulder injury. So unfortunately, no i don't lift. Do you even lift?